Sterling-A Montana Dayton Novel Chapt.9

ec556-moonthumbI woke up with a start and a massive headache. Max had spent the night last night, so he wouldn’t have to drive back in the big storm.

Too bad it wasn’t in my bed. It had been very, very tempting, but since I kept waking up with weird jewelry adorning my body it was probably better he didn’t.

I slowly opened my eyes and looked for Killer. He wasn’t around; he probably slept with Max. I massaged my temples and stretched, at least my scars weren’t bothering me this morning.

I climbed out of bed feeling utterly exhausted. I’d been up fairly late last night going over the file Max gave me, needing the distraction, but I still shouldn’t be this wiped out. Oh well, I’ll sleep on the plane I thought as I stepped into the bathroom.

“Come in.” I said before Max could even knock on the door.

“Brought you some coffee,” he sat on my bed with Killer.

“I’ll be right out.”

I quickly examined myself for any extra jewelry I hadn’t been wearing last night, no rings or necklaces.

Whew, of course Max spent the night last night, so I should be safe.

I looked in the mirror at my now raccoon eyes from the lack of sleep I felt like I was getting, decided to ignore them for now and began to fluff up my hair a little. That’s when I saw them.

How in the hell did I get out of my house without Max noticing?

I pulled the old fashion clip on earrings off of my ears just as Max stepped into the bathroom.

I slipped them into my robe pocket and smiled at him, it dawned on me as my headache instantly started to ease that the jewelry was what was causing me all of my pain, scars included.

“I’m going to go grab some breakfast for us; someone only has protein drinks in her fridge.”

He gave me a light kiss on the lips.

I leaned into him, taking the kiss to a deeper level before slipping out of his embrace. I couldn’t seem to stop myself.

“Damn it Max stop tempting me.”

My heart was beating a million beats a minute just from the lousy kiss, and the stupid jewelry had flashed in front of my eyes.

“I have a few things I need to take care of first.”

I slid past him and out into the bedroom.

“Like what?” He said exasperated. “If it’s this Dick guy I’ll take care of him for you.”

That’s part of it I thought. I heard a low growl from Killer.

“What’s the matter Killer? Have you fed him yet Max?”

I started towards Killer. The growl became a snarl with barred teeth. It stopped me in my tracks.


Max drew me back into his arms.

“Was he acting up this morning?”

“No. Stay here.” He lifted me up, placing me in the bathroom. “If he gets up aggressively close the door and stay put.”

“I don’t understand.” I said as he slowly wandered over to Killer.

Killer let out a long whine when he bent to pet him.

“Whatever it is…” I began to say stepping towards Killer; he gave me a low warning growl in mid-step.

“I don’t get it.” I glanced back and forth between him and Max. “I love that dog.”

“I don’t either. Come on Killer. I’ll be right back.”

I sat on the bed thinking about Killer, he must somehow know in his own doggy brain I was a thief, because there was no other reason why he should be behaving like that.

“I found the vet card in the drawer in the kitchen; I’ll take him and then pick up some food.” Max sat beside me, taking my hand in his.


“Is there anything I need to know? Anything that might have happened?”

“No, nothing I can think of.”

He kissed my hand. “We’ll figure it out. I’ll have the vet call you.” He kissed my forehead.

The minute I heard him start his truck I dug into my pocket and pulled out the earrings.

They were a matching pair to the pendant, with the ruby in center and the diamonds flowing around the ruby. Disgusted with the whole thing I tossed them into my safe with the other jewelry and slammed the lid shut.

By the time Max returned I’d showered and packed a suitcase, which was stashed in the closet. The vet had called and was keeping Killer overnight to see if he had any infections or reacted strange to anyone else, plus I was able to get a 2:00 flight out to Maine. I would pick up some more newspapers at the airport.

“Where are your earrings?” Max asked when we sat down to eat.

Of course he would notice I didn’t have my favorite Celtic hoops in, they’d been replaced by those stupid clip-ons. I’d forgotten all about them with everything else going on.

I touched my earlobes, “must have lost them somewhere, that’s too bad they were my favorite.”

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to replace them. Now I had one more thing to worry about.

Did I leave them in place of the others, where someone would find them?

“I know the perfect shop to find you some new ones. We’ll stop by there on the way to my place.”

“Okay.” I said throwing away our trash.

I only had a few hours to catch my plane. We had to do this fast.

“Let’s go.”

“You’ll love this place.” Max said pulling out of the driveway. He waited until we were driving a decent speed and smiled at me.

“It’s my client’s Wiccan shop.”

“That’s low Max.” I was tempted to jump out of the vehicle.

“Don’t even think about jumping Montana, we’re going too fast. You’ll like Jamie and Sam, besides you don’t have to work with me. I just want you to meet them. I also talked to Doc. He’s sending me a new salve for you; it should help tone down the scars more.”

I glanced at the scars on my arm; I was becoming fond of them.

“We’re here.”

He pulled into the parking lot. I scoped out the shop. The sign on the door said only “Jamie’s.” I automatically wondered how her business was doing. I shook off the thought. I was no longer a small business investor. I had to get over the need to invest in them. We climbed out of the truck and wandered into the shop.

Max slid his hand into mine pulling me close then directed me towards the case with the earrings.

“Pick whatever you like, I’m buying.”

He squeezed my hand tightly to let me know not to argue.

I rolled my eyes at him. He was right, the shop was awesome, everything Wiccan. I was going to have to come back and pick up something for Rose when I had more time.

I scanned the case for Celtic knot hoops, but didn’t find any then went back through at a slower pace. All of the earrings were gorgeous and not my style. I glance at Max out of the corner of my eye then back at the case, the only pair I liked were probably the cheapest pair. Oh well, he would have to deal with it.

“Find something you like?” Jamie asked, walking towards us.

“I did.” I pointed to the Celtic knot dangling earrings. They were made out of pewter and very simple.

“Jamie.” She said, pulling out the earrings and handing them to me.


I held the earrings close to my ears and turned so Max could see them.

“They fit you perfectly.” Max grinned.

“They really do.” Jamie agreed.

Now all I had to do was remember to take them out before I go to bed at night, so I don’t lose another pair, or leave them behind anywhere.

I followed Max to the cash register while putting on the earrings and saw a girl in the corner of the room holding some boxes, frozen, and white as a sheet.

She looked like she was in shock and stood there staring at me. I detoured, walking over to her. She stepped back, then froze again.

“Are you alright?”

She seemed to know who I was. I didn’t recognize her at all. She nodded her head once, but still didn’t move.

“Sam sugar, what’s wrong?” Jamie asked, coming up behind me, along with Max.

Sam shoved the boxes into Jamie’s arms and bolted into the back.

“I’m sorry,” Jamie apologized, “I don’t know what came over her. I need to close up the shop and see to her. I’ll walk you out.”


Max dropped me off at my car and stepped out of the truck.

“This is a nice ride.” He slid his fingertips over the hood. “Where’s your truck?”

“At my sisters.”

“You flew down here from Maine?”

“I did,” not surprised he knew where my sister lived.

He backed me up against the driver’s side door, leaned in and kissed me deeply.

“See you tonight.” He said huskily.


His arms tightened around me, “Why not?”

I struggled, trying to loosen his embrace.

“I’m not going to be here, but I should be back tomorrow.”

His grip tightened even more.

“Damn it Montana, you’re going to Maine aren’t you?”

“Yes.” I squeaked. I could barely breathe.

“I knew I shouldn’t have given you that information.”

“Let go of me Max, you’re going to squish me.”

“It’s tempting.” He relaxed his grip, but didn’t let go. “Cancel your flight and I’ll go with you after I solve this case.”

“It can’t wait, you know that Max.”

“You might weigh 100 pounds wet; it won’t be easy to intimidate him.”

I weighed more than 100 pounds dry, but I wasn’t going to correct him.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

He pulled back from me, keeping my arms in a vice grip, and gave me a long hard look.

“Be careful.”

I pressed my body against his and kissed him until he let go of my arms.

“I will.” I whispered stepping out of his embrace and into my car.

“Damn it Montana.” I heard him say again as I started the engine.